Internet

Cincinnati Bell tries fast Net

The telco says it will test ADSL, high-speed Internet access over copper wires, in parts of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.

Another telecommunications carrier today announced testing of high-speed Net access over copper wires--this time, Cincinnati Bell in parts of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.

The telco said it will test ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line), joining the likes of Bell Atlantic, SBC Communications, and Bell South. USWest and Ameritech already are rolling out DSL commercially in what is being dubbed a "copper renaissance."

Despite its benefits, such as being able to send data and make a phone call over the same line simultaneously, DSL faces significant marketing hurdles. Telcos hope that a recent alliance with high-tech giants including Microsoft, Intel, and Compaq will help, but many consumers are critical of the industry's marketing efforts with other high-speed Net technologies such as ISDN. DSL offers the potential to be 10 times faster than ISDN technology.

The telcos also face competition from cable television companies, which are rolling out high-speed Net access over cable on networks run by @Home and Time Warner's Road Runner. Internet service providers also are rolling out DSL to compete with the telcos.

"The feedback we receive from this trial will help us determine how best to use ADSL to meet consumer and business needs," Mike O'Brien, senior vice president of sales and marketing of Cincinnati Bell, said in a statement. "The high-speed access that this technology promises could improve both our current Internet services and let us offer other new features and services sooner."

Cincinnati Bell has more than 1 million access lines.